The Poor Man's Bird

A year ago I had a child,
A little daughter fair and mild;
More precious than my life to me,
She sleeps beneath the churchyard tree.
Oh! she was good as she was fair,
Her presence was like balmy air;
She was a radiance in my room,
She was sunlight in my gloom.

She loved thee well, thou little bird,
Her voice and thine were ever heard;
They roused me when the morning shone,
But now I hear thy voice alone.
She called me gently to her side,
Gave me her bird, and, smiling, died.
Thou wert her last bequest to me;
I loved her fondly—I love thee.

'Tis true, I often think it hard,
Sweet lark, to keep thee here imbarred,
Whilst thou art singing all day long,
As if the fields inspired thy song,
As if the flow'rs, the woods, the streams,
Were present in thy waking dreams;
But yet, how can I let thee fly?
What could'st thou do with liberty?

What could'st thou do?—Alas, for me!
What should I do if wanting thee,
Sole relic of my Lucy dear?
There needs no talk—thou'rt prisoner here.
But I will make thy durance sweet,
I'll bring thee turf to cool thy feet;
Fresh turf, with daisies tipped in pink,
And water from the well to drink.

I need thee. Were it not to choose,
Ere sunshine dry the morning dews,
Thy fresh green turf, I should not stray
Out to the fields the live-long day—
I should be captive to the town,
And waste my life in alleys brown;
Thy wants impel me to the sward,
And Nature's face is my reward.

Sweet bird, thou 'wakenest by thy song
Bright memories and affections strong;
At sight of thee I dream of flowers,
And running streams, and branching bowers;
But most of her whose little face
Was luminous with love and grace;
Thou art a link I may not break—
I love thee for my Lucy's sake.
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